Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Reason to run #386: Teenage Sons

There is a great Tumblr blog called Reasons to Be Fit. Anyone can post a motivational reason to work out. I personally love these.  For example:

But let's face it. There are other reasons we run. Reasons that might not make a great motivational poster. For example, you might be the mother of this guy: 

Truly, I am grateful JB is not my son. And no, JB is NOT one of the reasons I run. As a matter of fact, I'm tired of hearing about his antics. He represents the worst example of teenage decision making. Does his mother run? If not, she should consider it!

I know, I know, the teenage brain=poorly developed prefrontal cortex=bad choices. Lack of reasoning. A feeling of invincibility. Clearly JB hasn't developed his frontal lobe completely. I get it. I just don't want to experience it. But my son?

About 5 months ago, my 16 year old was arrested for shoplifting at Walmart. When we got the phone call from the police to come and bail him out of jail, my first response was disbelief.

"Seriously, Walmart? Why would anyone shoplift there?"

Ok, maybe that wasn't my first response. Actually, I couldn't breathe after that phone call. And I didn't go for a run, but I did go for a brisk walk around the neighborhood before we went to the police station. Have you ever had to pick up your son from the police station? We had to go into a special side entrance where the sign said "Bail Out" and waited in a little room for the police to "process" him and his 2 equally idiotic friends. 

I didn't speak to him until the next day. I went for a long run and lost myself in my thoughts. When I got home, his father and I talked about how to handle this. His punishment was handed down: grounded indefinitely + he had to pay his father and me back for whatever this was going to cost. We told him he had to find a job. But in all honesty, I wanted to throttle him. 

I accompanied him to court about 5 days later and watched with wonder the process of settling cases of other people with poor judgement. What amazed me is that people actually showed up and told the judge, "no, I didn't do my community service". Or "no, I didn't buy car insurance". The judge actually wanted to help these people make things right, and they still blew it. I pointed this out to my son and he nodded. I thought, ok, he's starting to take this seriously.

We stood in front of the judge and my son received a lecture on crime and a sentence of 20 hours of community service. The judge also threatened my son with juvie.

I see some of those kids as patients in my clinic. These aren't the kind of kids he's ever met. My pampered, suburban son has no idea what juvie would be like. He joked about it on the ride home. It took every ounce of self control not to throttle him again.

At first, the community service hours weren't hard to get. He did some hours at a not-for-profit where my sister works and I had him volunteer at a couple of races, handing out water to runners. He tried relying on one his buddies to help with the hours, but oddly, those opportunities never panned out. I kept nagging him to get it done. 

Fast forward to now. We are one month away from the court date and he still has 8 hours to go. The other night I woke up after a dream where he stood in front of the judge and told him he didn't do his hours. Before the judge laid down the verdict, I woke in a sweat. The next morning, I went for a run and thought about all this. When I got home, I started making calls. Luckily, our church said they would take him this Saturday for 8 hours, so he could finish. When I told him, he said, "oh yeah, I was going to call them". His dad laughed at that. I wanted to throttle my son again. And no, he hasn't found a job yet.

I never was one of those moms who complained about her kids. Don't get me wrong, they weren't angels, but when I listened to other moms talk about their kids, I always felt lucky. They gave me very little trouble as toddlers and school age kids. Both my boys are good kids. They make me laugh and we still have fun together. But for the first time as a parent, I am struggling. How do I support them and guide them, without being controlling and alienating them? I know I have to let them make mistakes, but I'd like to avoid another brush with the law. 

All things to consider while I run. Running is my therapy. And one of the reasons I run is because I am the mother of teenagers.

Why do you run?


  1. I too run, as a form of therapy. It's very freeing to me...sending prayers for your sons!

    1. He finished his community service today...hoping we can put this behind us and move forward now! Thanks for your support! This is a great community!